A widow has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the owners and operators of Marysville Raceway Park in Marysville, CA, over a fatal crash during a 2010 exhibition. The death of Merle Shepherd, Jr., a driver, was the first one to occur during the track’s nearly 50 years of operation, and according to the widow it could and should have been prevented.

According to the woman’s attorney, “It was an absolute calamity of errors that caused this death, and it could’ve easily been avoided.” As a result of the numerous errors, the attorney claims the death was the result of “gross negligence,” and therefore justifies a wrongful death lawsuit even though the driver had signed a waiver, which, according to the attorney, should only cover “general negligence.”

The deadly crash occurred during the track’s first IBRRA Big Rig Trucks exhibition event. According to the lawsuit, the “track was too small for that type of an event,” making crashes more likely. The filing cites the presence of two other violent collisions on the same night.

The deadly crash occurred when one truck was clipped from behind by another one as the two were exiting a turn.

Another aspect of negligence is that the driver of the following truck was a “known felon” who was not supposed to be at the event. Attorneys claim that if Shepherd had been informed of the other driver’s conviction, he would not have participated in the event.

This lawsuit is instructive about the relationship of risk-filled activities, waivers, and wrongful death lawsuits. If you have lost a loved one during a high-risk activity, you may still be able to file a lawsuit, even if you or your loved one signed a waiver about the activity. However, your lawsuit will likely only be allowed to stand if your loved one’s death was caused by negligence on the part of the activity’s coordinator or operator.

If you have lost a loved one and want to learn whether you can pursue compensation, please contact Robert W. Kerpsack, CO, LPA today for a free case evaluation.